I’ve never been a fan of these all-time lists, because most people who write them have little to no first-hand knowledge of how well a player performed in his day.
Being a man of only 39 years, I would fall into the category of one of those guys who has missed quite a bit of the heyday of college basketball. With guys like Lew Alcindor, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain patrolling the courts before my time, I couldn’t begin to say who was better than a Michael Jordan, a Chris Jackson or a Patrick Ewing.
This is why I jumped at the chance to write about the best Syracuse freshmen of all time. I’ve seen almost all of them play.
In 1954, the NCAA banned freshmen from being eligible for varsity play. This ban remained until 1968, when the NCAA lifted the ban on all sports other than football and basketball.
In 1972, freshmen basketball and football finally got their due, as the NCAA lifted the ban for all sports. This means that I feel I can confidently present an all-time list of Syracuse freshmen because they just haven’t been playing that long.
Fortunately, Jim Boeheim has been at the Syracuse bench for as long as freshmen have been allowed to play and has given Syracuse fans plenty of exciting freshmen.
The parameters are my eye test, so forgive me for any omissions or over/under ranking. You’ll just have to live with it.
On with the show.